Category

#Philippines

Palawan

[ElNido Palawan#1] El Nido- The Best Beach in the Philippines!


Big Lagoon, Miniloc Island

El Nido is simply the best beach place in the Philippines! The beaches are so pristine and the limestone rocks feel like entering Jurassic Park. After 30 years of my existence, this is the first time that I was able to witness the grand beauty of this place. There are two ways to visit El Nido, either you get sent by your company on an official business, or you save up for it. I took the later route, and after saving for almost two years, we were able to visit last May 1 weekend. I was literally flabbergasted by its magnificent beauty and all of you who have been to El Nido can testify to this.

The place is the most photogenic beach I’ve seen and hopefully, I will be able to share with you the beauty of this place in this El Nido series. I’ve been looking for an experiential account on El nido in the web but found none. This attempt to document our 4 days/ 3 nights experience intends to showcase how to take advantage of the “El Nido escape” and give you the secrets to having a fantastic time in this paradise.

For people who will be visiting El nido soon, here are my top 10 tips for an awesome El Nido experience:

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Balesin

[Balesin Island#3] What to do in Balesin?

UPDATE 11/6/13: Check out the latest blog post on Balesin Island Club developed by Alphaland:
BALESIN ISLAND (ALPHALAND): Food Tripping Around the World in 7 Beach Resort Paradise!

If there is one word to describe Balesin, it would be “relaxing”. The idea is to escape from your busy life, relax and appreciate nature. In that sense, there’s really nothing else to do in this island but bond with nature and with your love ones. There are sports facilities in the resort which you can enjoy which includes: Beach Volleyball, Table Tennis, Tennis and a 6-hole golf course. But for you to fully enjoy Balesin, here are my top 10 recommended things to do when you are in the island.

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Balesin

[Balesin Island#2] Where in the Philippines is Balesin?

UPDATE 11/6/13: Check out the latest blog post on Balesin Island Club developed by Alphaland:
BALESIN ISLAND (ALPHALAND): Food Tripping Around the World in 7 Beach Resort Paradise!



This shot was taken 7 hours away (4 hours by land + 3 hours by boat) from Manila. The travel could be as short as 30 minutes by a chartered plane (imagine how expensive that would be). This was in the remote island of Balesin in Pollilio, Quezon Province and my Balesin series will give you a glimpse of this beach island paradise in the East.

The land trip was a 180kms, 4 hours drive from Manila to the Atimonan port. It sounds easy if you know or have been traveling to Bicol because this is 1/3 of the way to Bicol. You travel via South Super Hi-way –> Sto. Tomas, Batangas –> Alaminos, Laguna –> San Pablo, Laguna –> Tiaong, Quezon –> Candelaria, Quezon –> Sariaya, Quezon –> Lucena, Quezon, –> Pagbilao, Quezon –> then finally arriving at Atimonan, Quezon before Gumaca. (whew! that was long) All I can say is that follow the road signs going to Bicol so that you don’t get lost in one of the fork roads. If you have been to the Viaje del Sol destinations then you are just 1/2 of the way to Atimonan. In the Balesin Brochures, it would say that this is 3 hours away ( they forgot to put “at night” ) but if you leave manila at 6am, I would guarantee you, it would take you 4 hours at least.

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Boracay Island

Top5 Bora Resto! [ The Bora Life #3 ]

Update: BORACAY FOOD: 10 Most Awesome Boracay Restaurants! (2018)


Prana Restaurant, Mandala Spa

Boracay is famous not only because of its sugary fine white sands and the what-happens-in-bora-stays-in-bora beach parties, but also for authentic and delicious cuisines from all around the world. These restaurants cannot be found in Manila, and they are only exclusively available in Boracay! Here are my top 5 Best Bora Restaurant that serves good quality food that you shouldn’t miss when you visit this island paradise in the South.

1. Authentic Greek Cuisine @ Cyma Greek Restaurant, d’mall, Station 2
2. Spanish Food at Travesya @ Asya, Station 2
3. Portuguese Craving @ Banza Restaurant, Station 3
4. Italian Cuisine @ Aria Restaurant d’mall, Station 2
5. Vegetarian Cuisine @ Prana Restaurant, Mandala Spa, Station 3

These are upscale restos that served good quality food that you wouldn’t mind paying for additional premium. Check these out…

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Balesin

[Balesin Island#1] Come Away With Me to a Balesin Escape

UPDATE 11/6/13: Check out the latest blog post on Balesin Island Club developed by Alphaland:
BALESIN ISLAND (ALPHALAND): Food Tripping Around the World in 7 Beach Resort Paradise!

Balesin. noun.
1. Forgotten Fantasy Isle. (by Elizabeth Reyes for Mabuhay Magazine)
2. Anti-Boracay Beach. (by Rome Jorge for the The Sunday Times)
3. Seven 7 kms. of White Sand Beach Paradise (www.balesin.com)

I’ve been traveling lately almost every weekend in summer, and coupled with hectic schedule at work, expect slow blog postings through-out summer. Although, I’m excited to post my recent adventures in the islands of El Nido, Bacuit Bay, Palawan and island of Balesin, Lamon Bay, Pollilio, Quezon Province. From the western coast of Palawan to the eastern coast of Quezon Province, I have lots of stories to tell. I love beaches and one of these days, I’ll write a photo book about the wonderful beaches of the Philippines.

Balesin Beach is perfect with fine white sand that is close to bora’s station 1 powdery beach sand. The sun sets directly in front of the resort for that relaxing rest to end your day. It has all the elements that makes it perfect: clear blue sky, crystal clear water, fine white sand, lush green trees, and inviting torquise sea. This is really what you call a fantasy hide-away since you are in a secluded resort with the forrest full of chirping birds as the backdrop and with the beach as your only witness. The resort people are super friendly with your typical Filipino hospitality.

Unfortunately, there is a problem with the resort.

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Boracay Island

My Mandala Spa Experience [ The Bora Life #2 ]

This scene welcomes you as you step out the tricycle from the main street walk along a stone road full of trees and withered vines. This exact photo was described by Marc Macapagal on his Praising Prana article as:

“The open air reception, with its wooden teak floors, lounge chairs and glass tables draped with colorful woven silk fabric, and surrounded with lush tropical plans is a calming sight. You feel like you’ve arrived in someone’s hacienda home.”

Mandala prides itself for being a sanctuary for the soul, a place where you experience yourself and go for presence walks. For me, I just came from a Bora night party and stepping into Mandala Spa, I felt like it transported me not into the past or the future, but into another dimension of the present. I felt at home where the staff is friendly, the food is healthy, the air is fresh, and where I felt like the nature and the trees are hugging me as a walk around the spa. Many articles and press releases have been written about this award winning, world class Mandala Spa in Boracay. This is not a press release article but this was my Mandala Spa experience…

Related BORACAY Blog Posts:

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Boracay Island

[The Bora Life.1] Top Ten 10 Cool Things to do in Boracay!

Update: BORACAY FOOD: 10 Most Awesome Boracay Restaurants! (2018)

Our Awesome Planet is not complete without a Boracay posts and here are the Top Ten Cool Things to do in Boracay this year! Just a warning, once you finish reading this post, you’ll be tempted to go to Bora as soon as you can…

1). Jonas Milkshakes — still the undisputed dessert place. This continues to be the best place to hang out for dessert or for watching the sunset. The best part is Jonas is now open 24 hours! It continues to be a mystery as to what is the ingredient of Jonas’ milkshakes? By the way, for the diet freaks you can order a Jonas Shake without milk. My favorite continues to be Banana-Choco-Peanut for P70, what’s your favorite?

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Batangas

[Golden Sunset 3] What to do in Golden Sunset?


Golden Sunset is a very nice place for the family and they have the best Philippines Cultural Show that I have ever seen! Food, Drinks, and Pets are not allowed inside the resort so you have to be contented with eating at the Filipino Fishpond Restaurant or at Cucina de Oro (which serves international cuisine pasta, pizza, etc.). I like the Fishpond restaurant a lot better than the Cucina de Oro (they need to have a better cook). Although the restaurants are not something to rave about in this place. My son, Aidan really enjoyed with the fun swimming pools, playground, kids room, and the butterfly sanctuary. My wife, Rache also enjoyed the massage at the Serendipity Spa for P500 🙂 For me, I enjoyed the cultural show and taking photos of the surroundings and the golden sunset. So everyone is happy 🙂

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Batangas

[Golden Sunset 2] The Golden Sunset Experience


I was actually skeptical when I first visited golden sunset because of the cheesy marketing gimmicks and later on, I found out that the resort does not have an actual beach front. But still we decided to stay for 3 days/ 2 nights during the holy week to rest and re-charge since this is “allegedly” the best resort (so far) in Calatagan. After our stay, I should say that we really had fun specially because the place caters to families with lots of things to do for the kids. Despite the hot weather, there is a gush of winds passing through the resort which makes the summer heat bearable and it is not that humid. Golden Sunset officially opened to the public just this January 2006 and there was a soft opening during the Ms. Earth pageant last October 2004. Ricky Reyes (commonly called Mader in the resort) proudly designed the entire place and I’m glad to see him during the Holy Week in his resort. The resort is very busy and it would be difficult to get a reservations during the summer weekends in this resort. I’ll give you a virtual tour anyway of the resort which is similar to an Island Cove setup but in a much cooler ambiance at night plus a great view of Calatagan’s famous golden sunset.

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Batangas

[Golden Sunset 1] Allegedly the Best Resort in Batangas :)


Golden Sunset is one of the hottest resorts in Batangas now! Thanks to Mader Ricky Reyes (people in the resort calls him Mader) for opening their suppose-to-be family vacation resort to the public. The resort is located in the heart of Calatagan, Batangas — 3 hours away from Manila via Tagaytay which is the half way point. I say that it’s hot because it just fully opened this January (soft opening last Oct during Ms. Earth Pageant) and all the weekends were fully booked and overflowing with tents on its open grounds! If you call the reservation office, nobody would answer you because a lot of people are inquiring about this place and they cannot handle the volume anymore. I actually had to drop by as a walk-in and risk that I will be rejected but fortunately I was able to get a standard room for 3 days and 2 nights. I’ll be creating a trilogy series on Golden Sunset to give you the overall experience, what to do and what to expect of the Golden Sunset Resort.

I also got a lot of frequently asked questions in my blog about Golden Sunset because there was really lack of honest-to-goodness article about this place. This is a well-marketed place so expect only the good reviews in the internet and good photos at their official website. Although, for the first time, I hope to provide you with what a Golden Sunset Resort experience is all about. In this first post, I’ll tackle the frequently asked questions about Golden Sunset.

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